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Protection of Conscience Project

www.consciencelaws.org

Service, not Servitude
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Portugal

Portuguese Constitution, Article 41(6)

". . . guarantees 'the right to conscientious objection, as in accordance with the law."*


Article 12, Law n° 16/2001 (Law of Religious Freedom)

1. Freedom of conscience includes the right to object to the compliance of laws that contradict the imperative command of one's own conscience, within the limits of the rights and duties imposed by the Constitution and under the terms of the law that may regulate the exercise of the conscientious objection.

2. The commands of conscience that are considered as imperative are those whose infringement involves a serious offence to one's moral integrity and, consequently, make any other behaviour as not mandatory.

3. Conscientious objectors to military service, without excluding those who also invoke a conscientious objection to civil service, have the right to a civil service system, which respects the commands of their conscience, as long as it is compatible with the principle of equality.**


*Precis in English (** Translation toEnglish) from EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights, Opinion No. 4-2005: The Right to Conscientious Objection and the Conclusion by EU Member States of Concordats with the Holy See (14 December, 2005), p. 12